Antifa: A Truth Sandwich


August 24, 2019 by epoetus



When White Supremacist Richard Spencer was punched in the face, this clip of the scene went viral – and for some it just never gets old. You can watch it over and over again. But is this what we want a political movement to be associated with or have in the foundation of its platform?

What is antifa?



The word is short for anti-fascist and is conceptually rooted in the anti-fascist movement that formed during World War II. The word ‘antifa’ was not commonly used until the 21st century, however. There is no romantic unbroken political movement lineage connecting antifa to the anti fascist movements that arose during World War II. Any allusion or imagery connecting the two is part of a fictional narrative, a ‘snake oil’ sales pitch, which puts antifa in an improper light – one that appears to be integrated into their ‘act.’ Antifa are agents provocateurs and their existence intimately depends on the co-existence of their nazi counterparts. Theirs is an inseparable theatrical marriage of a never ending ‘yin-yang’ brawl.



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Here are the Nazis getting in a counterpunch. And so it goes.



For reference here are some definitions of the word:

Merriam Webster:
n. a person or group actively opposing fascism.



Urban Dictionary:
Short for militant leftists, or occasionally far leftists and radical leftists, often used as a generalization of people who commit to acts of violence against those on the Right side of the political spectrum.



USA today as per Charlottesville:
short for “anti-fascist” — is the name for loosely affiliated, left-leaning anti-racist groups that monitor and track the activities of local neo-Nazis. The movement has no unified structure or national leadership but has emerged in the form of local bodies nationwide, particularly on the West Coast.



Slang it:
is an abbreviation for anti-fascists, which is a group of people with beliefs that lean to the far liberal left. The term can also refer to people that are anti-sexist, anti-racist, anti-homophobia, and anti-capitalists.
The term is often used on Twitter and in news articles to describe the greater movement of people who hold these ideals. Antifa are commonly seen in protests, whether it be against capitalism on Wall Street or removing statues of Confederate soldiers.
A political protest movement comprising autonomous groups affiliated by their militant opposition to fascism and other forms of extreme right-wing ideology.



The Truth Sandwich

You cannot and should not think of antifa without also thinking about their credo: “punch a nazi in the face.” In other words, you cannot separate the word antifa from it’s most famous tactic: violence. The presence of antifa around you implies that you are not in a family friendly environment and, if the police or white supremacists are also around, you should probably leave immediately – unless you’re interested in brawling, tear gas and the very real possibility of a stampeding mob. If your goal is to be part of building a movement or start a non-violent revolution, like Bernie’s “Our Revolution,” there really is no place for antifa, ‘black bloc’ and their “diversity of tactics,” which is sweet talk *code* for punching nazis, smashing car wind shields and vandalizing local businesses. But unlike their White Supremacist nazi fascist counterparts, antifa are not terrorists.

Here is some sweet talk code, that rationalizes ‘antifa’

It’s helpful first to identify the differences between black bloc protesters and antifa. Black bloc — so named because protesters wear black and operate in a block formation — is a militant tactic during a protest aimed at fascism or capitalism. Historically, as in the World Trade Organization protests in Seattle in 1999 and the G20 protests in Hamburg earlier this year, it’s been mostly practiced by anarchists, not disciples of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky as Thiessen claims; by contrast, the broader anti-fascist movement (if you can even call it a movement) is a loosely defined group of people who are morally opposed to fascism. You can be an antifascist without participating in black bloc tactics. Most people are.” – from ‘The Outline’

In reality ‘black bloc’ and antifa actually go together. This passage contains sweet talking falsehoods – antifa are not disciples of Stalin and Dzerzhinsky either and generally antifa aligns with anarchism as well. ‘Black bloc’ are the arm of antifa that focus on ‘diversity of tactics’ – code for violence, and vandalism. While you can say that they are loosely organized without any national hierarchy you never know when ‘black bloc’ and their ‘diversity of tactics’ will show up with antifa.



Putting this into context

We don’t want to make an equivalence between antifa and the racist, misogynistic White Supremacist fascists, as our President would want us to do. They are organized to track and “punch nazis” wherever they may gather in public. Antifa are not terrorists – they are not interested in taking down our government.
On the other hand, many fascist white supremacist groups are actively working towards taking down the government – this problem exists in the Spokane area of Washington State and elected Representative Matt Shea supports them. Many of the mass shootings we’ve seen, the long history of the Bundy family fighting against the government, and the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, when put into the context of the history of White Supremacists points to their supporting and organizing acts of terrorism. The Oklahoma city bombing of a federal building was terrorism perpetrated by White Supremacy. There is no equivalence between the LGBTQA, anti-racist antifa people and the Tea Party, Dominionist White Supremacist terrorists.

There is good in antifa

Here is a list of their values:

  • Anti-racist
  • Anti-misogynist
  • Anti-capitalist
  • Anti-globalization

Anarchy is not an ideology for governing – it is really an organizing construct for criticizing governing institutions. There is a place in a democracy for that, but we should not look to anarchist thinking for solutions. In the same way we can view antifa’s approach to white supremacy and nazism – it is a complete visceral rejection of the idea. Antifa are misguided by a belief in violence, but they rightly adopted a strong rejection of fascism.




Key take-aways:
• If antifa show up to a planning session for an event, have everyone share in writing that they have sworn to not engage in any violence, vandalism, theft or damage to property as part of the event. Specifically call out that “diversity of tactics” and “black bloc’ is forbidden as women and children will be at the event.
• There is no equivalence between antifa and fascist White Supremacists.
• Fascist White Supremacists want to take down the government and should be declared terrorists.
• If antifa are around at a public gathering, you may want to leave immediately, as violence is probably on the agenda. This is the lesson of the Occupy Seattle May Day gathering in 2012 as the violence led to the collapse of the Occupy Seattle movement.
• If you’re organizing a protest or gathering do not plan to invite antifa.






Word history



Definitions of antifa:



Antifa WTO 1999 – Outline



Antifa occupy Seattle may day violence



Antifa as a world organization – an intimate history from the New Yorker



USA today Charlottesville

Matt Shea, Washington State Representative



Bundyville podcast as reviewed by the New Yorker

One thought on “Antifa: A Truth Sandwich

  1. epoetus says:

    Here is a write-up by Vice, who made the now famous documentary of Charlottesville, which details what happened in Portland a week ago. The police separated Antifa and the White Supremacists to prevent violence, and it worked for the most part. Unfortunately one of the white supremacist buses drove right into the middle of an Antifa group and wound up getting the treatment — that appears to be the extent of the violence.

    But what should we do about these gatherings of white supremacists which are in part a testing of the water with respect to containing Antifa? Should we honor the first ammendment and allow these Fascist White Supremacists to gather? Is the best strategy to ignore the White Supremacists and Antifa in these situations – sort of a public version of the online axiom: don’t feed the trolls?


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